Another excellent weekend of schools rugby sent many sides heading into the half term break with a smile on their faces.
A few fixtures remain, most notably the St Joseph’s Festival this weekend, but for the majority it was the final fixture before the break.
There were some fantastic performances all-round, including some terrific feats of point scoring from the likes of Whitgift, Mount St Mary’s College, Monkton Combe, Haileybury, and Norwich. However, with one exception, this week’s Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend has focused on sides that achieved much-needed results and results of serious significance.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
It has been a bit of a funny first half of term for Felsted in that they have probably been vastly underrated. Defeats to sides traditionally weaker than them, Norwich and Eltham College, were perhaps to blame for that but ignore the fact that both have gone unbeaten in this first half of term and have been exceptional. With wins over Haileybury, Oakham, Bedford, and New Hall to their name, Felsted knew they were a good side, but a 24-17 victory at home to Berkhamsted on Saturday was a real statement to the rest of the schools rugby world – a result that made us all take notice for Berkhamsted are undoubtedly a very very good team this year.
Grammar School at Leeds
Grammar School at Leeds went to Bradford Grammar on Saturday with a played five, won one, lost four record. Their hosts, meanwhile had won four and lost three. The stats were undoubtedly skewed, Grammar School at Leeds had faced some really very tough opponents so far this season, so they were not overly relevant. However what they did at the very least suggest was that what eventually unfolded seemed pretty unlikely – not that GSAL won, no, but how they won. It was a stunning 71-0 scoreline, away from home, a timely and spectacular return to winning ways for the Leeds side. Stunning stuff.
Harrow went into Saturday’s game against Epsom on Saturday as slight underdogs. The week before they had just edged past St Paul’s, a side Epsom have put fifty past, while against their only other common opponent, Epsom had lost but kept things reasonably close, while Harrow had been beaten 31-0. So Saturday’s 27-17 victory over Epsom College was a real boost or Harrow and will have put a real spring in their step as they head into the half term break. With some massive games coming up after half term, including Kirkham Grammar and Wellington College, it could be a great springboard.
In our preview of the weekend we said that Rugby’s game against Bromsgrove was a key one for them. Unbeaten to that point, they had been building a reputation as a very fine side indeed. Bromsgrove represented their toughest challenge of the season though, and a game that if they won would keep them being considered so highly, even elevate people’s thinking. They did it, winning 20-12 and opening up their possibilities in doing so. Victory against Teddies on Thursday will give them an unbeaten opening half of term, from there they will be favourite in every game next half term if current form continues, until their final game on the 8th December v Clifton College, their toughest opponent of the season. Keep an eye on Rugby, it could be a wonderful season.
If we want to talk wonderful season’s, there are not too many other places to look right now that in Yorkshire and at Woodhouse Grove. They added another major scalp on Saturday to add to the likes of St Peter’s York, Barnard Castle, QEGS Wakefield (twice!), and RGS Newcastle as they beat Denstone College 27-19. It was a key game, perhaps their toughest opponent so far, at the very least one of, and a game that sealed an unbeaten opening half term. Woodhouse Grove have big ambitions, and each of these victories is vital for the confidence and momentum needed after the half term break, which will see them take on by far and away their two toughest challenges; Sedbergh and Kirkham Grammar School.